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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Ten for Eleven

Thank you, Eric, for having my back. We have to keep our 9 loyal followers satisfied with new material. 

Seeing as I'm still working on the masterpiece that will be my write-up on the Steelers win against Sloth and the rest of the Ravens, I'll chime in on thoughts for 2011.

Rather than predictions necessarily, these are just the 10 things I'm most looking forward to in 2011:

10. Pittsburgh Pirates Trying Winning 82 Games
I know, I know. Typically a team needs to have at least one starting pitcher with a winning record in order for the team to finish over .500. Call me crazy, but I think this is possible. They have a core of good young position players who are going to get better each year. Clint Hurdle helped construct the Rangers' potent offense last year. If he can help instill some confidence, they will improve. This streak has to end someday, and you have to think the McCutchen, Alvarez, Tabata, Walker group is going to be the one to do it. They’ll need divine intervention in the form of starting pitching, but if just two of their starting pitchers have out-of-nowhere seasons, a decent year is possible. Heck, I’d take 75 wins. 

9. Harbaugh Coaching the 49ers
I'm not a 49ers fan, and obviously as a Cal guy, I'm not supposed anything coming within 15 miles of Palo Alto. But I like Harbaugh. I’m not sure why, but I really do. I like his gutsy, take no prisoners mentality and anyone who can turn a 1-11 Stanford program into the hottest team in the country deserves respect. Harbaugh is the kind of guy I’d want coaching my team. I’m praying he can turn the Niners into winners simply so that KNBR from November to March isn’t so freaking boring.

There’s no guarantee Harbaugh will succeed with the Niners. But the fact that they play in the NFC West, football’s Tuesday Night Bingo Club, should help. They need a QB, but once they get one, I like Harbaugh’s chances. It won’t happen overnight. Look for them to follow a similar path as his Stanford teams. His first year maybe they finish out of the playoffs but score a few statement wins.

All of this depends on the CBA, but I agree completely with Eric. It will get done. There will be football.

8. A Summer of Baseball Uninterrupted by the World Cup
Soccer, you can have the three weeks between the Super Bowl and the starting of Spring Training games.

7. Pac-12 Championship
Regardless of who plays, it will be interesting to see the Pac-12’s inaugural championship game. It’s uncharted waters and I know some folks are poo-pooing it, but I sure would have loved to see Stanford and Oregon play again at the end of Pac-10 play last season.

6. Steelers/Packers Super Bowl
There’s no telling if this will happen, which is why it isn’t higher on the list. But this would be a great game to see. Rodgers arm against the Steelers D. I think I’d be the only Cal alum/citizen of Northern California not rooting for Aaron Rodgers, but I’m with the rest of you wetting your pants over him. He’s awesome. I hope he doubles every record Farve set.

I have a hard time giving a rat’s about the NFC most of the time, but I want to see Rodgers win every game he plays – except this one.

5. Penguins v. Capitals in Eastern Conference Finals
Like the Steelers-Ravens AFC Championship game in 2008, this series needs an encore. The Caps-Pens series in 2009 was an absolute classic. And after all the hype the Winter Classic got, both the league and fans would benefit hugely from a few more periods of Sid and Alex the Ogre. There’s nothing like playoff hockey and seeing hockey’s two best players and two biggest rivals go at it just ups the ante.

4. Heat v. Lakers Finals
I guess this qualifies as a prediction, but I’m just sick and tired of being deprived of Kobe v. Lebron in the Finals. Every year, something gets in the way. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again – give the people what they want.

Last years Finals was great basketball, but the Kobe v. Lebron spectacle would outshine even the Lakers/Celtics rivalry.

I envision Game 7 in L.A. Heat up 1. Kobe drains his turn-around jumper at the elbow with 5 seconds left to give L.A. a one point lead. Heat call a timeout during which ‘Bron literally pushes Eric Spolstra out of the huddle when he tries to draw up a play. Lebron says, “Give me the ball.”

James inbounds to Wade, runs off a pick by Bosh and gets the ball back. He goes one on one with Kobe, pulls up just past the free-throw line and nails it. The net doesn’t even move.  

3. Giants v. Phillies
In a perfect world, we’d get a NLCS rematch, but that may be asking too much. I’m excited for just their regular season meetings, especially those three in Philly. You know emotions will be running high, people wanting revenge.

I’m already planning a trip to Philadelphia for the Giants one swing through Citizen’s Bank. I’m already brainstorming for the most biting sign to display for Phillies Fans.

Front-runners are currently:
and finally

I’d appreciate your suggestions, and yes, I have taken out an extensive life insurance policy,

2. USC v. Cal at AT&T Park
I know the Bears may have a rough season ahead, but I am seriously juiced for the season at AT&T Park.  And it’s not just because I’ll save $5 in would-be Bay Bridge tolls every Saturday. It’s like mixing two of your greatest loves into one perfect concoction, like playing baseball with the cast of Star Wars, or watching Star Wars with the 2010 San Francisco Giants.

Anyone who has seen a game at AT&T knows how awesome a venue it is, and I really enjoyed the Emerald Bowl experience. The streets will be packed with Cal fans, the Band will parade around Willie Mays Plaza and Buster Posey will walk-on as QB.

The USC game is going to be icing on the cake. The SC fans will be swarming the City in maroon sweat-vests, ecstatic over the fact that they don’t have to mingle with commoners on the “revolting” BART train to the East Bay this year. It’ll be awesome.

1. April 8, 2011: Giants Championship Banner Raised
Outside the Lefty O’Doul Bridge entrance to AT&T Park is a large mural that details all of the Giants’ accomplishments in franchise history. There’s a list of years the Giants won the Division, the NL Pennant, and yes, the World Series.

I can remember standing outside this gate before the second game of the World Series, waiting to run film for the game. I remember looking up at that mural and seeing a lot of blank space under the “World Series Champions” section.

I remember thinking to myself, “You know, they really could do this. It could say 2010”

Sure enough, they did and it will. On April 8, the banner will be raised at 24 Willie Mays Pl. On April 9, the players will get their rings

I will be selling a kidney for a ticket to these games.


  1. First of all, regarding #2- I am BEYOND excited about not crossing the bridge and not taking the hour long public transit quest to get to Berkeley.

    Second of all, every time I read this blog I get a slight panicky feeling, like I need to hang out with you two more before baseball starts again and we don't see one another for months at a time...

  2. frankie - i believe you mean april 8, 2011. although, doing it a year ago would have been awesome as well! ps, root for rodgers, the steelers are going down to sancheezy

  3. Thank you, eagle eye!

    Come on, give the Steelers this game. If they go down to A-rod in the big one, so be it. But please oh please, don't root for Sanchez.

  4. But I LIKE Tuesday Night Bingo!

  5. I have a kidney I can sell for tickets to the first two games too!

    We need to find out how much we can get for two kidneys!